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12                                         FLOUA INDICA.
with accuracy the species of a plant, even when the whole genus
is well known; much more is this the case in genera, many
of whose species arc yet undiscovered; and most of all, in
those where the forms, though stiflicicntly well known, are-
liable to much variation. In the last case their determination
becomes a special study; and when attempted withouLaecess
to authentic specimens, leads to inextricable confusion, and its
evil effects are not confined to specific botany, but extend to
all departments.
The pages of our Indian Flora will supply numerous illus-
trations of these remarks, and we would direct the attention
of those commencing the study to the lesson to bo derived
from these instructive errors; for where the first botanists of
the day have failed, beginners cannot be. expected to succeed.
It cannot be too strongly impressed upon all students of bo-
tany, that it is only after much preliminary study, find with
the aids of a complete library, and an herbarium contain-
ing authentic specimens of a very large proportion of known
species, that descriptive botany can be effectively carried out;
and it would be well for science if this were fully understood
and acted upon.
The prevailing tendency on tho part of student** of all
branches of natural history, to exaggerate the number of spe-
cies, and to separate accidental forms by trifling characters, is,
we think, clearly traceable to the want of early training in
accurate observation, and of proper instruction in the objects
and aim of natural science. Students are not taught to KVM-
tematize oa broad grounds and sound principles, though
this is one of the most difficult processes, requiring great
judgment and caution; or, what is worse, they are Jed by the
example if not by the precepts of their teaehem, to regard
generic and wjkteifio distinctions as things of little importance,
to be fixed by arbitrary characters, or according to accutentu!
circumstances. As a conaeqwucc, the irtudy of Hy*tematic
totaiiy is tmuhuilly takhig a lower and Icwrr j>htee in our
schools; and, being abandoned by many of UtOKi who air